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Advances in the Neuroscience of Intelligence: from Brain Connectivity to Brain Perturbation

  • Emiliano Santarnecchi (a1) and Simone Rossi (a2) (a3)


Our view is that intelligence, as expression of the complexity of the human brain and of its evolutionary path, represents an intriguing example of “system level brain plasticity”: tangible proofs of this assertion lie in the strong links intelligence has with vital brain capacities as information processing (i.e., pure, rough capacity to transfer information in an efficient way), resilience (i.e., the ability to cope with loss of efficiency and/or loss of physical elements in a network) and adaptability (i.e., being able to efficiently rearrange its dynamics in response to environmental demands). Current evidence supporting this view move from theoretical models correlating intelligence and individual response to systematic “lesions” of brain connectivity, as well as from the field of Noninvasive Brain Stimulation (NiBS). Perturbation-based approaches based on techniques as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), are opening new in vivo scenarios which could allow to disclose more causal relationship between intelligence and brain plasticity, overcoming the limitations of brain-behavior correlational evidence


Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Emiliano Santarnecchi. Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation. Harvard Medical School. Department of Cognitive Neurology. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. 330. Brookline Avenue, KS-450. 02215. Boston, MA (USA). Phone: Office +1–6670326; Mobile +1–6175169516. E-mail:


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